British Gas is the UK's best known and largest energy supplier with around 13 million customers and a 20% share of the electricity market. However, despite dominating the market as part of the Big Six for many years, they have dropped from 25% market share in 2013, losing millions of customers to the growing number of smaller, independent suppliers.
British Gas at a Glance
- Electricity: 43% renewable
- Gas: 0% green but carbon offset
- Based: Windsor
- Founded: 1997
- Customers: 13 million (2018)
- Established and trusted brand name
- Prices tend to be the cheapest of Big Six
- 43% renewable energy (highest of Big Six)
- Best customer service of the Big Six
- Fewest complaints of Big Six in 2018
British Gas Customer Reviews
To begin with, let's take a look at what British Gas customers say about their service, pricing and customer care.
Positive reviews about British Gas
Customers are often proud and reassured to be with the UK’s oldest and largest utilities company.
“It is good to know that I am getting electricity and gas from Great Britain’s biggest energy company.”
Customers are generally content with British Gas online and telephone services.
“British Gas customer care is usually efficient and friendly. It’s useful to be able to book an engineer, submit meter readings, compare usage and pay bills from my iPhone.”
Customers find setting up and using their British Gas accounts relatively painless.
“Switching to British Gas was very easy: I did a rough comparison online then gave sales a call. Managing my account on the website is practical and informative.”
Customers appreciate collecting nectar points at no extra cost.
“It’s great to link energy usage and billing to a loyalty programme!”
Negative reviews on British Gas
British Gas complaints take time to get resolved.
“It takes an unusually long time to update random meter readings. When I last called, we spoke for over 40 minutes and went over the same issue three times! Although my meter readings were ultimately changed it was a real hassle to get customer service to do it and took much longer than it should have.”
British Gas billing is inaccurate.
“When recently moved homes, my bills decreased because apparently my home was more energy efficient. But two years later, I get told I’ve underpaid and my direct debit gets changed without my approval? It’s not professional.”
The British Gas website is comprehensive but not functional.
“Although the website seems decent initially, I can’t see my electricity usage. I’ve told British Gas and they’ve acknowledged my issue but it’s still not working.”
British Gas homecare can be unreliable.
“I have not been able to book British Gas homecare appointments online. I had to wait three months for a booking and it got cancelled at the last minute.”
In 2012-2013, British Gas received over 1.2 million complaints. These complaints were mostly (79%) dealt with before the end of the next working day. Of all complaints, 28% were about payments, 21% about billing, 9% about credit management, 9% about metering and 7% about customer service. This is respectable compared to other energy suppliers on the UK market.
British Gas History
British Gas in its current form was founded in 1997. However, its ancestor, the Gas Light and Coke Company, was the first public utility company in the world (1812). It became British Gas in 1986 when the gas industry was privatised with the Gas Act. British Gas became a subsidiary of Centrica in 1997.
Today, British Gas has around 13 million electricity and gas customers. With SSE, another Big Six company, it is also one of the two large energy suppliers with UK ownership. In 2012, British Gas operating profit was almost £1.1 billion, up roughly 10% on 2011. The British Gas parent company, Centrica employs over 30,000 people in the UK.
As well supplying electricity and gas to households and businesses in the UK, the British Gas parent company Centrica owns a fair share of electricity generation and natural gas production and storage facilities.
Centrica Storage Ltd owns the Rough natural gas storage facility, which is able to meet up to 10% of the UK's peak demand, by far the largest natural gas storage facility in the country.
Centrica's combined-cycle gas turbine and wind power stations account for over 4% of the UK's total electricity generation capacity.
British Gas Energy - Fuel Mix
Unlike the other Big Six suppliers, British Gas supplies most of its energy from renewable sources (43%), closely followed by natural gas (37%).
Their reliance on fossil fuels has dropped dramatically over the past few years and coal now only accounts for 7% of its fuel mix.
British Gas Tariffs & Prices
British Gas offer various tariffs including variable, fixed and prepayment options including:
- HomeEnergy Secure May 2021 - Fixed until 31st May 2021
- Everything Online Green Dec 2021 - Fixed tariff, 100% green electricity
- HomeEnergy Fix Jan 2020 - Fixed until 31st January 2020
- Green Drive Nov 2020 - Economy 7, cheaper energy between 12.30am-7.30am
- Safeguard PAYG - Pay as you go tariff
To help us compare British Gas against the rest of the Big Six and the smaller green suppliers, let's take a look at an example tariff and their prices for a typical 3 bedroom house in London.
To do this we gained quotes from British Gas using the UK average annual energy usage of 3,100 kWh of electricity and 12,500 kWh of gas, on a monthly direct debit with our sample London postcode.
|Everything Online Green Dec 2021 (Electricity)||Everything Online Green Dec 2021 (Gas)|
|Type of tariff||Fixed price until Dec 2021|
|Green gas||-||0% (but carbon offset)|
|Exit fees||£40 per fuel|
|Unit rate||17.66p per kWh||4.33p per kWh|
|Standing charge||24.38p per day||26.01p per day|
|Monthly cost||£53.01 per month||£52.97 per month|
|Total per month||£105.98|
|Total yearly cost (3 bed house London)||£1271.76|
Prices correct as of January 2019
The sample quote above of £1,271 per year is one of the more expensive quotes we have received for any supplier here at The Switch. Compare this price to companies such as Pure Planet (£926), Octopus Energy (£962) and Bulb (£1,109) and you can see that actually there are plenty of cheaper green suppliers around.
Although there are cheaper suppliers than British Gas, they are also not the most expensive. Suppliers such as Co-op Energy quoted us a whopping £1,486 for equal usage in the same London postcode. Rapidly growing supplier OVO Energy also offered a very similar quote of £1264 per year, just a few quid cheaper than British Gas.
Contact British Gas
As you would expect from the UK's biggest energy supplier, there are numerous ways to get in touch with their customer services for help with any issues you may have.
British Gas Phone Numbers
To speak to a customer service representative you can find the relevant department's phone number below.
|Topic||Contact numbers||Opening hours|
|Account Enquiries||0333 202 9802||Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm
Saturday: 8am - 6pm
Sunday: 10am - 4pm
|Pay As You Go Enquiries||0330 100 0303||Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm
Saturday: 8am - 6pm
|Moving Home||0333 202 9505||Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm
Saturday: 8am - 6pm
|Join British Gas||0333 202 9802||Monday to Friday: 8am - 8pm
Saturday: 8am - 6pm
|Gas Emergency||0800 111 999||Open 24/7|
There is also an extensive help and support page on their website offering answers to many common queries related to bills and payments, account issues, moving home, smart meters and more.
The British Gas help and support section also includes an online chat feature available if the help documentation doesn't solve your issue.
British Gas, PO Box 4805
Worthing, BN11 9QW
British Gas Login
Customers of British Gas can access their bills and account online in the portal area accessible on the British Gas website.
To login to your British Gas account, simply click the button below to be directed to their website.